Thursday, December 18, 2003


It is sad to see a voice of reason fall silent but exactly that seems to have happened over at "The Skeptical Inquirer". They quite rightly say that limitless skepticism leads nowhere. To be precise it leads to solipsism -- doubting everything but your own existence -- but the means they propose to limit skepticism are astounding. They seem to want to decide scientific truth not on the facts or on the balance of the probabilities but by majority vote! If you had taken a majority vote among the learned men of GalileoĆ¢€™s day you would have "discovered" that the sun rotated around the earth. And you would be WRONG! The example they give is instructive. They say that because 2500 "scientists" signed a document saying that mankind is causing global warming therefore it must be true. No weighting to the degree of expertise of the "scientists" involved is given (I cannot imagine 2500 "experts" in any scientific field -- which makes the whole thing reek of a propaganda exercise) nor is any account taken of how many of them stand to lose their research grants if the theory is disproven. But above all, no weighting is given to the many discordant FACTS -- such as evidence that global warming is occurring on Mars too. Did mankind cause THAT? Or did solar variability do it? I think we will have to rename them "The Credulous Inquirer".

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